NSRT in the context of changing North/South relations

The nature of the North-South dialogue has changed quite dramatically over the course of the last three decades that NSRT has been in existence from the North-South confrontation of the 1970s over a New International Economic Order (NIEO), to the domestic dilemmas of the 1980s during a phase of unpleasant structural adjustments, to the search for a new framework of cooperation in the post-cold war era of the 1990s. The NSRT has adjusted the topics for its deliberations as the times changed and as the global agenda shifted, though it continued its role as a highly professional, moderate and informal bridge between policy makers and academics on global issues, with particular relevance to the North South relations.

However, the North and the South of the 21st century are far more diversified and far less polarized than in the initial phase of the North-South dialogue in the 1970s. It is now difficult to clearly separate the interests or view points of the countries of the North and South. This greatly reduces the area of friction and acrimony that characterized the earlier phase of the dialogue. It also elevates the dialogue above narrow group interests to the pursuit of common global interests. This is particularly true of newer concerns which have begun to dominate the global agenda - for example, trade, environment, population, human development, gender equality, drug control, international terrorism, several new threats to global human security and several new avenues of global prosperity and inter-dependence. So long as we are concerned with the fundamental search for equity and justice, each development issue must be reviewed from the point of view of the impact it is likely to have on poor nations and rich nations within the global community, and on poor and rich people within each nation. Thus the North-South dialogue must become a dialogue on equity within and between nations rather than a dialogue between the fixed positions of various groups, described loosely as "the North" and "the South".

 


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